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Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries Hardcover – August 21, 2001

4.0 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Sicily they eat ice cream for breakfast. That fact alone was enough to convince Victoria Granof that she had to go there. Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries is the result of a number of Granof's visits to Sicily, during which she confesses she ate more sweets than she ever thought possible. With plenty of humor and great respect, Granof shares what she learned from her experiences in Sicily and the friends she made there. Few of these sweets are fancy, and all are very traditional. Light and crispy Sweet Ricotta Turnovers from the Bar di Noto in Piana degli Albanesi and Chewy Pistachio Cookies shared by Giuseppe Chemi of Pasticceria Etna in Taormina are Sicily personified. All 106 of the recipes, such as the elegant little Engagement Cookies filled with almonds and cinnamon and honey-drenched Rice Fritters, call for the same ingredients the Sicilians have used for centuries. Learn to make homemade ricotta cheese and you won't believe how good your cannoli can be. --Leora Y. Bloom

From Publishers Weekly

Sicilian sweets are more than simply desserts each one has a particular significance in the island's varied and unique culture and history. In this, her debut work, Granof, a New York City chef who trained at Le Cordon Bleu, wonderfully integrates the myth and mysticism of Sicily with solid, easy-to-follow recipes and gorgeous photos. N'zuddi, for example, are orange and almond cookies shaped in a square to honor Messina's patron saint, the Madonna della Lettera, and the letter she brought to the town from Jerusalem in A.D. 43. Minni di Vergine, or virgin's breasts, are small mounds of pudding encased in pastry dough with candied-cherry nipples, which Sicilians eat "with reverence" to honor the martyred Saint Agatha. The Rice Fritters of Siracusa were originally made in the 18th century by Benedictine monks, and Jasmine Gelato uses flowers originally planted by Arabs over 1,000 years ago. Some Sicilian desserts, such as Cannoli, are well-known in the U.S., but Granof presents them in their classic form. Feature pieces on Sicilian bakers, like Franco Ruta of Modica's Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, are great fun, as are the author's recollections of her own experiences eating in Sicily. With inspired confidence, Granof offers an unusual addition to the crowded shelves of Italian cookbooks. (June 1)Forecast: Part history book, part travel memoir, this original, beautiful book seems destined for success and will certainly appeal to fans of Mary Taylor Simeti and Carol Field.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (August 21, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060393238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060393236
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,159,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic book! The recipes are great and the photography is really beautiful. The history of the island is so fascinating and is covered well in this book. It is a nice set up to the recipes... its wonderful to get some background on why Sicilian pastries are the way they are. I also enjoyed learning which pastries are associated with religious observences. This book also brought back great memories. The Ricotta Turnovers in the book are very similar to the "Cassateddi" that my Sicilian grandmother loves. The author does an excellent job of providing mail order resources for some hard to get ingredients and provides infomation on how to make a reasonable approximation of other components yourself. (like Fresh Ricotta) I would also like to clear up a misconception. Two previous reviewers indicated that there was a typo on the Chewy Pistachio cookie recipe just because flour was not listed. It is NOT an ingredient in the cookie. If you read further and pay attention to the instructions, flour is not called for. Not every cookie has flour and not every cookie is made like Americans make things. As for the person who said that the picture showed flour... rest assured, the cookie is dusted with powdered sugar which is in the recipe (and much tastier than dusting it with flour). No typo there, just a different (and delicious)type of cookie.
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Format: Hardcover
This book contains authenticity throughout--the photographs, the history, and the recipes. Beautifully written and photographed, the book will warm the heart of Sicilians and non-Sicilians alike. Every recipe I attempted resulted in a delicious pastry reminding me of my childhood surrounded by Sicilian family and friends. The writing is eloquent and heartwarming, and the history is fascinating and authentic. I would wholeheartedly recommend Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries.
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By A Customer on December 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The history in this book is wonderful. However, the recipes are very inconsistent. Missing ingredients, etc. make it impossible to use this cookbook. I tried twice to make the Little Tea Cookies (pg.70) with no success. The dough would never come together (obviously some ingredient is missing).
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Format: Hardcover
As a Sicilian, I can say the book really embodies the Sicilian culture and cuisine. It is beautifully photographed and I am impressed with the amount of pastries she covers in this book. However, as a pastry chef, I found quite a few recipes that are not quite accurately written. You can play around with them and get the recipe to work, but that really isn't the point of a recipe; especially, if you have never before eaten the item you are making, you don't know what to correct. If you want a great picture book, this is for you. If you are looking for great recipes, I wouldn't recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am half Siciliana so I loved reading all about the goodies in this book. I have tried a few of the recipes and they are quite good. She didn't really nail the cannoli for me, but then my memories of cannoli are the Brooklyn-bakery kind, not the authentic Sicilian kind probably.

The styory of her trip through Sicily is very entertaining. The pictures make your mouth water!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I borrowed this book from our local library 3x and had to pay late fees each time because I didn't want to give it up. Finally ordered it from Amazon and am very much enjoying all the recipes and am able to give it the time and attention it deserves. Love, love, love all the recipes and never knew that candied orange peel was so easy and versitile.
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Format: Hardcover
The book is wonderful for the photographs, but I also had trouble with the recipes. The sweet pastry dough, as another reviewer points out, does not call for enough butter. I was reminded of that when paging through my copy and finding a sticky note I had left for myself which said, "Add 3 Tbls. butter and 3 Tbls. milk." Without the added ingredients the dough will not come together at all.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This reminds me of when I went to sicily in 2011 when we ate all the food there yummy... true to the island itself... want to go back but this next time NO tours... want to eat and live the sicilan way on my own time. wonderful country if you never been you gotta go
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